Andrew Dominik is Back with “Killing them Softly” [trailer]

It’s been five years. Five years. Five years since Andrew Dominik last directed a feature film. That film was of course far and away the best film of 2007: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Some of us were wondering if Andrew had given up on film making altogether or if we had the beginnings of the next Terrence Malick on our hands. Now, while the quality of his films will still remain to be seen (he’s only had two), it does look as if at the very least, we’ve got a director who simply likes to take his time in between projects. Here’s hoping that philosophy will for him as well as it seems to for Malick.

Andrew Dominik has once again teamed up with Brad Pitt for his latest thriller comedy, Killing them Softly. Pitt plays Jackie Cogan; a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game. Slowly the film evolves into social commentary about our (the U.S.) faltering nation. Set in 2008 amidst the presidential election and the economic frustrations, Killing them Softly proves to be a most interesting excursion for the director and the rest of the cast which features Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn and Sam Shepard.

Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think….

A Film’s “Intent” and “Valid” Film Criticism

I‘m not a film critic. Yes, I write some reviews and have a weekly show in which I sit around and bullshit with my friends about newly released film. In that sense sure, I guess I am a critic. But in that sense isn’t everyone a critic of any form of art or experience they have that they talk about? What I mean is that I’m not paid for what I do. It’s not a career (obviously). I didn’t go to film school and I don’t have a degree in journalism or broadcasting. I’m just a dude with an opinion in which the 21st century allows me to share that opinion with the masses.

So I think it’s time to address something that’s been bugging me for quite some time; an accusation that has been tossed around on our Cinecast (and others) far too often (of which I admit I am equally guilty). This notion that you’re “reviewing the movie not for what it is but what you wanted it to be.” I think that statement can careen down a real slippery slope and in most cases (not all) is totally invalid. Can’t you throw that accusation at anyone for just about any criticism of any movie? Our recent discussion of Rango has spurred these thoughts.

If someone were to say they didn’t like Speed Racer because the dialogue is terrible, I don’t think it’s fair to say, “well that’s just not what the movie was aiming for.” Well maybe not, but that doesn’t mean it’s an invalid criticism. The dialogue is pretty terrible in that movie. It’s hackneyed, elementary and corny. Sure it may be reminiscent of the original animated television show and sure that may be what the producers intended but that doesn’t mean someone has to like it or that it couldn’t have been done better. I personally happen to like Speed Racer quite a bit but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who walks out of the screening and says, “man I just don’t think I could’ve taken one more second of Susan Sarandon’s one dimensional character and her campy acting!” That’s an absolutely fair comment to make.

So yes, that person wanted that movie to be something different. In essence, any review out there that is negative of something is essentially saying just that isn’t it? If the film had done something just a little bit different it might be more positive looking in that particular “critic’s” viewpoint.
Would you like to know more…?

Remembering a Decade…2007

(prologue) As we can begin to hear the death rattle of the oughts, we in the third row decided to start on this continuing series throughout 2009 that will look back at our favorite films of each of the past ten years (2000-2009). This will ultimately culminate in a “ten best/favorites of the oughts” piece sometime in early 2010.

This has got to be the finest year for cinema goers over the past ten years. I can remember narrowing down my personal list to about 30 favorites and then having a real tough time weeding it down to 10. Hence coming up with a consensus for a “top” five among seven or eight people proved to be downright impossible (leaving off all of the great “off the wall” cinema was particularly difficult – e.g. Grindhouse, Bug and Black Snake Moan specifically). So we each listed five movies that really captured our hearts that year and I tried to make the best executive decision I could that really showcases some of the best 2007 had to offer while maintaining a general sense of the tastes here at RowThree. Here are five films (and of course some honorable mentions) that represent some of the greatness that 2007 delivered.

Would you like to know more…?